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Prove yourself, Governor Kim (KOR)

Feb 01,2019
Delivering a shock to a presidential-hopeful, as well as the ruling party, the Seoul Central District Court sentenced South Gyeongsang Gov. Kim Kyoung-soo, a confidante of President Moon Jae-in, to two years and 10 months in prison for colluding with bloggers to manipulate public opinion during the 2017 presidential election and local elections in June 2018. The court identified Kim as the joint principal offender in the crime with blogger Kim Dong-won, known for his internet alias Druking. The court ordered for his immediate arrest. Kim Dong-won was sentenced to three and a half years in jail. The public is outraged to learn a key aide of the president committed a crime to influence online opinion in favor of Moon in the heated race for president in May 2017.

Gov. Kim was sentenced to two years for obstructing business, a criminal charge, and another 10 months for violating the election law. The court agreed with most of the charges put forward by the special counsel — that Kim was fully aware of the organized online-rigging campaign through a software program with a capacity to automatically upload posts and “like” on thousands of comments on the social media in support of Moon during the campaign. The bloggers pursued the crime under the approval of Kim who also was actively involved in the rigging campaign, the bench said.

The court accused Kim of employing the Druking-led ring to win the 2017 presidential election. The court slapped a heavier sentence on the blogger “for seriously undermining the health of online media and influencing voters’ judgment” and for his bad behavior of demanding a public post as reward.

The ruling will deal a heavy blow to the government and ruling party as a final guilty verdict on a key member on the Moon campaign camp raises doubts about the fairness of the election.

After the ruling, Kim vowed to pursue the case until the end to safeguard the truth and questioned the fairness in the ruling by raising the connection with presiding Judge Seong Chang-ho and former Supreme Court Chief Justice Yang Sung-tae, who was recently jailed for meddling with trials under the previous administration.

“My worries about the judge’s special ties with Yang on the ruling have come true,” Kim said through a statement read by his lawyer. Seong had been Yang’s secretary for two years. But he nevertheless has earned a credential for fairness in judgments based on legal grounds.

Kim still has the higher courts to defend himself. If he truly is innocent, he should prove himself instead of blaming the bench.

JoongAng Ilbo, Jan. 31, Page 30